Night had fallen over Vailstone kingdom and while the princess was sleeping under the roof of a tent the same couldn’t be said for the lonely prince. It had been quite some time since he had run away from the hospital and unfortunately eaten as well. Christian wandered under the night’s blanket of stars. He was somewhat cold and his stomach constantly growled. The young prince held his belly while slowly entering a vast and empty park.
He walked a paved trail seeing playground equipment thanks to the star’s twilight. A pond, absent of any ducks, harbored a park bench near the edge of the water. The brown haired teen walked over and sat down to rest his tired feet. His legs were sore from all the running and walking. Dodging into alleyways so as not to be seen. He was uncertain of who he could trust anymore. He looked up at the bright twinkling stars with exhaustion.
“What am I doing? All I wanted was to have an adventure of my own. Was that so much to ask for?” he questioned the sky. The boy began to muster tears, “Why did this happen? What DID I DO?!” he yelled. “What am I supposed to do now?”
Christian wiped the moisture from his eyes and sniffed due to his runny nose. He tried to be strong, but the pain was too much. The prince began crying again, tears fell from his cheeks onto his shirt and vest, but what distracted Christian from his misery was what happen once one of his tears dripped inside the spiral sea shell on the end of his necklace.
A tiny pink light shimmered from inside the sea shell for a small moment, but long enough for Christian to notice.
“Huh? Pink light?”
Christian grabbed the necklace and inspected it for a brief moment, but saw nothing unusual. “I could have sworn I just saw...” he stopped looking into the opening of the small shell.
As the boy peered inside again a small flicker of pink light flashed from deep with-in letting out a tiny bit of glitter into his face.
“Ah! Ptf, pft.” he shook his face to scatter the pink glitter, “What tha heck was that? What’s in there?”
“Excuse me?” a tiny voice asked.
“Huh? Who’s there?” he questioned looking behind him and around the park bench.
“Oh, now I’m a ‘who’ and not a ‘what’?”
“Hey? Is somebody inside there?” he inquired poking at the shell.
“Hey, stop it. Cut it out.” the voice ordered.
“What’s going on here?” he asked as his tears began to dry up. Christian blew inside the shell to try forcing what or who was inside out.
At that time a burst of pink light flew out of the sea shell and into Christian’s face. A small pixie flew before him surrounded by pink glitter and shining light. Her tiny body had long wings attached to her back which allowed her to fly about. The small pixie was no larger than a small cup, her eyes were black, and her hair a ruby red.
“What’s your problem, tapping on people’s houses and blowing inside, huh? You think you’re some kind of big bad wolf?”
Christian gasped with amazement, “I’ve never seen a fairy before.”
“Excuse me?! A FAIRY?! I’m a pixie you stupid jerk!”
“Hey, sorry. Geez, I’ve never met a fairy OR a pixie before.”
“Well congratulations to you.” The pixie flew back just an inch or two taking notice of the clothes the prince was wearing, “What are you doing wearing my master’s clothes?”
“Oh, I got these from that preacher back at the...” then Christian realized the fate of the pixie’s late master. “Oh, um, I’m not really sure how to tell you this but, your master passed away. His parents handed over these clothes.”
“Duh stupid. I know he’s dead. Just because I don’t blubber about dead people like you do doesn’t mean I don’t know. What I’m saying is WHY are YOU wearing his clothes.”
“Hey! Like I said they were given to me. And you’re a mean little bug.”
“BUG!? Ugh, you don’t deserve to wear my master’s clothes.”
“Well, I’m not walking around naked so deal with it.”
“Urgh!” the little pixie was certainly upset Christian was wearing her late master’s property. She looked around, “Why are you in a park in the middle of the night? Are you going to sleep on that bench? Are you homeless?”
“Gosh, for somebody so tiny you’re sure full of questions. And no I’m not.....” he paused, “.....homeless.”
“Well it sure looks like it to me.” the small pixie looked around at the empty park again, “I don’t think you know anything.”
“Just shut-up already.” Christian weakly replied. He slowly laid down on the bench in a sleeping position. His eyes were vacant and his face void, he realized he hadn’t anywhere to call home. He couldn’t go back to the castle now and there was nowhere else to turn.
The small pixie drifted in mid-air in the same spot for a minute before flying to the prince’s face. She saw the depression and void in his eyes. “I thought you said you weren’t homeless? Caaauuse you sleeping on a park bench is kind of a homeless thing to do.”
Christian laid silent allowing the pixie to say whatever she desired.
“You don’t deserve my master’s clothes.” she stated once more before returning inside the small sea shell.
The park was empty, but not silent. Christian looked up into a nearby tree as a few black birds cawed and ruffled their feathers. ‘It must be so easy to be a bird.’ he thought to himself. ‘Carefree, set up home where ever you feel. Once you grow up, you fly out on your own, never knowing if your family is dead or alive. Never having to feel that hurt.’ Then he thought further, ‘I’d hate eating bugs though.’
‘I wonder where Alisha is.’ he contemplated as he drifted off to sleep. ‘I hope she’s okay.’
Hours had passed and the moon had disappeared from the night sky allowing the sun to bring in a new dawn. The time was a bit passed noon and the pond was active. The sound of birds was so loud Christian couldn’t sleep any longer. He slowly opened his eyes and was surprised by the awakening sight. The ground was nearly covered in black birds. The teen sat up smiling, it was such a nice surprise. Then he noticed the birds standing on the back of the bench and flying above him.
“I don’t have any food. I’m sorry.” he informed, as if the birds could understand him. The prince slowly moved his pointer finger towards one of the birds to attempt petting it gently. His finger slowly inched closer and closer while the bird appeared distracted. As he was an inch away from petting the black bird it turned its head watching his finger move in closer. Christian smiled, he thought it was so cool getting to pet a wild black bird until suddenly the black birds began riling up and cawing incessantly.
Christian was taken aback by the sudden burst of panic by the feathered creatures. Swarms of black birds began flying over the head of the young prince and from behind. Christian ducked his head low for safety as the birds panicked above him. The excitement began making the brown haired teenager uneasy. He looked about the surrounding area for an escape from the nervous birds, but noticed an unexpected intruder closing in on him quickly.
“Grechov!” he shouted in a startle.
The general hurried through the birds crushing a few under his feet while trying to move around them, which slowed him down.
“Hold still Christian.” Grechov warned.
The prince gasped and stood from the park bench to run until he was pecked in the head by swooping black birds. The birds began swarming his head to prevent his movements. In the panic one of the black birds scratched the side of Christian’s face causing him to fall to his knees and block with his forearms. As the chaos ensued, he noticed the general reaching closer.
The prince had to move, even if it meant getting blinded by crazy birds. Quite possibly with his life at stake, Christian leapt up from off the ground and smacked some of the flying hazards away before darting off in the direction opposite from the general.
“STOP!” Grechov hurried. “Damn it.” he muttered as he pushed through the airborne birds.
Christian ran as fast he could as the black birds followed in close pursuit. He flung his arms about swatting at the birds as he ran across the park. As if ignoring him, a massive swarm of black birds began forming a cyclone before his very eyes. As the feathered cyclone became its darkest a masculine man in a dark feathered dress quickly approached the prince and forcefully grabbed his wrist.
Christian was in shock and tried jerking his arm free of the mysterious man.
“Who are you?! Let me go! Let go of me!” he wrestled.
The man in the black dress leaned towards the frightened prince, “I’m your new royal mystic.” he smirked.
The prince swung his free arm to hit Crow, but was instantly stopped by Crow’s free hand.
“You better freak’n clam yourself down you little punk.” he quietly threatened drawing the prince in closer.
The prince paused for a second while at the mercy of this new supposed royal mystic.
Grechov finally caught up and wiped the sweat from his brow, “Got’cha.” he stated grabbing hold of Christian. “No running this time.” Grechov declared exhaustedly.
The prince was forced into a Vailstone military vehicle and rushed back to the castle. Christian sat between general Grechov and a soldier while Crow sat across from them. The prince looked at the man in the black dress with anger as they jostled around in the large jeep.
“And when did this become official?” Christian asked.
“Hm?” Grechov wondered.
“When did he become Vailstone’s new mystic advisor?”
Crow looked at the inquisitive teen, “After I saved Raziel. He was under a nasty spell from that Fire starter fellow, haven’t you heard?” he replied overdramatically with a smirk.
“That’s enough Crow.” Grechov ordered.
“Crow, huh?” Christian repeated. “That’s right, I remember seeing you on the T.V. Why didn’t you use your magic to stop Fire starter yesterday?”
Without so much as a response Crow just managed to glare at the prince, then looked out the window with the scenery passing by.
“I know he killed mom and dad. What about Alisha? Is she okay?” Christian asked.
“Shhh. Not now.” Grechov replied putting his pointer finger to his lips.
“Tell me Grechov, I want to know. What happened to Alisha?”
“Shh, shh, shh.” Grechov seemed determined not to answer any of Christian’s questions.
Finally, after nearly an hour of silence the military jeep arrived to the Vailstone castle. Outside the castle walls were a massive swarm of protesters. Civilians of the kingdom slapped, vandalized, and rocked the military jeep while it slowly pushed through before being allowed entry. Soldiers at the front gate maintained the crowd to deter a riot. The vehicle reached the main entrance and finally came to a complete stop. Grechov stepped out of the jeep and waited for the prince to step out as well. Christian peered through the open vehicle door a gazed at the castle. The boy had a sickening feeling just looking at home. Memories came flooding back into his mind, he leaned out of the jeep weakly before throwing up in front on Grechov.
“Awe, shit!” he said as vomit collected on his boots.
“That’s flattering.” Crow stated sarcastically in a monotone voice.
Inside the castle ambassador Hikaru was sitting behind a large wooden desk that rest inside the late king’s study. He stressed beyond his limits as all ties to the kingdom were slowly cut.
“I assure you, your majesty, the situation is under control. It was a spell from our own mystic, he betrayed us. Raziel is innocent I swear to you. Yes, we’re having a bit of an issue with our citizen’s understanding the truth at the moment, but it’s just a slight bump in the road. A little hiccup like this shouldn’t affect our professional relations. I hope it’s safe to say we can muster through this affair together. I’ll have my people contact your people Monday morning. What do you say? That way we can carry on business as usual?” Hikaru awaited the response on the other line of the phone, anticipating the royalty’s answer nervously.
“Do you know why everyone is withdrawing their connections with Vailstone? The king and queen were murdered by their own people. You may have a silver tongue, but you can’t talk your way out of this one. I myself had warned Dorian of the people he surrounded himself with. First and foremost, that general Raziel insisted upon. His horrific background should have been enough of a red flag. And now his grand duke and royal mystic slaughter him and his beloved. Yet you’re telling me how everything is under control.”
“I merely was saying.....”
“Don’t interrupt me Hikaru.”
“Sorry, um.” he replied nervously.
“My ‘people’ will not be meeting with ‘your people’ Hikaru. You have no ‘people’ Hikaru, are just an ambassador. You’ve obviously set yourself in the position of authority rather quickly. You’ve already appointed Vailstone a new royal mystic. Either you were aware this moment was coming or you stupidly hired the first person who showed up at the front door without even so much as a background check. My informants, however, did run a background check on Vailstone’s new mystic. So, were you aware he’s forbidden in nine different sections of the continent or is that information irrelevant?”
“Well, I certa....”
“Sorry.” he apologized catching himself interrupting the neighboring king once again.
“The bottom line is, you are not royalty. You are not a regent. You have no authority. None of the other kingdoms will listen to what you have to say because what you have to say is meaningless. As far as myself and everyone else is concerned, the true authority in Vailstone kingdom is the next eldest blood relative. And unless the princess has been wed as of recently that makes prince Christian your new king. Good day Hikaru.” the king on the other side of the phone hung up before Hikaru could reply.
The kingdom’s ambassador sat with the dial tone sounding off in his ear. He slowly hung up the phone and rest his forehead in his hands as he sat. All the kingdom’s allies have removed themselves in light of what’s happened. It was clear the kingdom could not properly function without the presence of the prince or princess. Hikaru’s cheshire cat magically appeared on the desk beside him.
“Syrius, what am I supposed to do?” he paused. “Dorian and Natalia are dead, Christian and Alisha aren’t capable of running this kingdom themselves.” Hikaru reasoned with himself out loud to Syrius. “We need Raziel so we’ll be safe, but he can’t be in charge either. The people don’t fully trust him like they did before. What other choice do I have here? This kingdom needs me, these people need a king.” The ambassador looked at his reflection in a massive mirror hanging on the wall. “A new king.....” he said having an epiphany.
A knock at the door disturbed Hikaru’s train of thought, “Come in.” he answered.
Grechov opened the large door and stepped inside, “I got’em.” he smiled.
Christian was all alone in another one of the castle’s many studies. He walked over to the window and looked out at the protesting civilian’s around the castle.
“What’s with all the angry people out there?” the tiny pixie asked fluttering beside Christian.
“Ugh!” he gasped, “When did you get out? I didn’t summon you.”
“Really? Summon me? Come on kid I’m not a genie. Now what’s with all those ticked off people?”
“They’re...protesting.” he answered solemnly.
“Duh, genius, but whyyyyy?” she asked fluttering about not really caring about the answer.
“Because somebody here killed the king and queen.”
“Sucks to be them. That’s the death penalty.” the pixie stated without a care in the world. She poked at a large painting until the door to the room started to open. Hesitant on allowing her presence to be known, she instantly vanished back inside her shell around Christian’s neck leaving only a tiny trail of pink glitter behind.
Christian turned from the window to witness Hikaru enter the room.
“That will be all general, thank you.” Hikaru excused.
General Grechov watched Christian while he closed the door, leaving only the prince and ambassador alone together. Hikaru walked over to a large comfortable chair slightly adjacent to another chair identical to his.
“Please, be seated. We have much to discuss.” he asked kindly.
Christian was hesitant at first, but eventually walked over to the empty seat and sat down. Hikaru unbuttoned his coat before seating himself.
The ambassador shrugged his shoulders, “You have no idea how relieved I am to see you. After what had happened and all, I wasn’t even sure of you or your sister’s safety.”
“Alisha’s okay?” he asked hopefully.
“Yes. We’re tracking her down as well, like we found you.”
“How did you find me?”
“Well, that was with the help of our new mystic advisor.”
“Yes. He can use birds for scouting and spying and such. One bird noticed you in the park so we rushed in to get you immediately. Out there isn’t safe for someone of your royal blood. You belong here, with us, with me.” he smiled.
“That Crow guy said he helped Raziel somehow.”
Hikaru took a deep breath, the presentation of his next words were obviously formulating in his head. “Christian, as touchy as this subject is for you. For us. Raziel had been cast under a spell somehow during your adventure to obtain the Kamisama armor. How can I put this nicely? Fire starter is a tricky individual. Heck, he fooled us all for at least twenty years, even myself. Crow’s birds noticed this at some point and witnessed the spell used on Raziel, so he knew how to reverse it. Otherwise I would have kept him locked up in our dungeon.”
“Raziel is free?!”
“Yes, Crow vouched for him. I witnessed him free Raziel from the spell myself. I wouldn’t have believed it otherwise.” he explained with assurance.
“Is he here?!” Christian panicked.
Hikaru reached out and placed his hand over Christian’s, “Christian it’s fine. Trust me. Raziel feels terrible for what has happened. He’s beating himself up over this more than anyone else could. I need for you to calm down........He’s in the library.”
“Breath Christian, breath.” Hikaru helped coach the prince into taking deep breaths to calm down. “He wants to speak with you. Think you’re up to that?”
The prince shook his head answering ‘NO’ frantically.
Hikaru held both sides of Christian’s face, “Now Christian look at me. Look at me!” he raised his voice gaining the teen’s attention. “Now look, I need you. This kingdom needs you. Everything your mother and father have built here will crumble and fall to shambles unless you can keep it together. I know this is rushed upon you, but with your parents gone YOU are now in charge. None of the other kingdoms want anything to do with us unless they see you and your sister back here safe, sound, and happy. You know why you REALLY wanted to go out and have your own adventure Christian?”
The prince starred into the ambassador’s eyes deeply, “Huh?”
“I’ll tell you why. Because you wanted to have a purpose. Don’t you get it? Can’t you see you never came back from your adventure that day! Your still in it Christian.” he explained theatrically. “And you’ve found your purpose, just like your father did. To come back and lead these lost people. To be a leader, hell, to be a KING!”
“Um, I dunno.”
“You can’t quit your adventure now. Adventurer’s don’t quit. Your father never quit. You wouldn’t want to disappoint your father. Would you?” he prodded.
Christian’s watery eyes had begun to overflow with the fear of being a disappointment to his late mother and father, “No.”
“There, there Christian. Everything is going to be just fine. With you back home where you belong and me by your side, everything will be just fine.” Hikaru explained while consoling the broken hearted boy. “You’re doing the right thing staying here Christian. Dorian and Natalia would be proud of how strong you’ve become.” The ambassador leaned away from the prince looking him in the face, “Christian,” he stated with a stern voice, “now comes the hardest part. I know you can do this.” Hikaru gripped the boy’s shoulders tightly as Christian looked to the door.
Outside the library Christian and general Grechov waited. Hikaru cracked open the door and stepped outside into the hallway.
“Okay,” he said taking a deep breath, “he’s ready to see you now. Are you sure you’re ready for this?” Christian nodded his head preparing himself to face Raziel after what he had done. “Good, I knew you were strong. Remember general Grechov and I will be right outside if you need us, alright?” The boy nodded his head once more, Hikaru patted him on the back and cracked open the door for him, “Good, good. Alright then.”
Christian was gently nudged inside the dimly lit library. He peered back as the door closed behind. A flame danced in the fireplace. The burning wood crackled and snapped. A broken chair laid crushed on the floor near an elegant coffee table. On the table was placed a glass of cold milk, a plate with chocolate cake, a fork, and an extremely sharp knife. The brown haired teen walked over to the dessert sitting alone on the table. A figure sat on the opposite side of the room. Once Christian was in view the figure lifted its head and raised from the shadows.
“Christian?” he asked enthusiastically, which startled the prince. “You’ve come back.”
“Raziel!?” he spouted in fear.
The grand duke began walking over, but stopped immediately after witnessing the boy’s fear. He reached outward pleading to the youth, “Christian. It’s been killing me inside not seeing you and Alisha after what happened. You have no idea how terrible I feel about all of this.”
“I have no idea?! How terrible YOU feel?! YOU KILLED MOM AND DAD! I don’t care how you feel!” he teared up.
“You don’t mean that.” Raziel responded sympathetically.
“I’m never going to see them again because of YOU! Momma’s birthday was next month! She didn’t even...get..to.....” he struggled. “You ruined my life! You ruined everybody’s life.” Christian had a difficult time trying to maintain some composure. “What am I supposed to do now? Alisha? How can we stay here after what you did! Nobody wants you here anymore.” he declared referring to the protesters outside the castle.
“Christian.....” he began walking to him.
“Stay away from me.” he ordered. Raziel stopped once again, “You’re a monster. You are, a monster. You make us, believe in you. Trust you. Love,” he paused, “you. And then attack?!”
“Christian,” Raziel hesitated wanting nothing more than to tell him the truth, but telling him his father wasn’t strong enough to bare the armor would only exacerbate his dilemma, “Fire starter, I trusted him and when I was most vulnerable he...cast some sort of magic spell on me. It was like mind control, except I could see everything happening, but was still powerless to stop it.” Raziel teared up while pleading with the boy, “I wanted so badly to undo what was happening. What had been done.”
Raziel began stepping closer over to Christian. The prince slowly took small steps back until he bumped into the coffee table. He looked back quickly to see what had stopped him and noticed the fire reflecting off the sharp knife. The prince looked back to the grand duke as he approached.
“With all my strength, I was still helpless to stop what had begun into motion. I messed up. You know I loved your mom and dad, Alisha, and you. I’ve put my life on the line for all of you time and time again. You know me. You know I would never intentionally hurt you or your family. I was family too, they were my family too Christian.” Raziel stopped once he realized Christian was holding the knife behind his back.
Knowing he was holding that knife to protect himself from Raziel was even more painful. The powerful warrior had murdered his friends, betrayed the children he had helped raise, and realized what the situation had become.
“Is that for me?” he asked painfully.
Christian moved his hands around revealing the knife. Tears dripped onto the blade from his eyes, “I know what I gotta do now. I have to make things right.” he whimpered.
Raziel smiled with hurt, “Is that it? Is that what needs to be done?” He dropped his hands to his sides, “Is that the only way to make everything right?”
Christian starred at Raziel, both with tears in their eyes and nodded. Raziel nodded, emotionally scarred. He grabbed a hold of part of his armor and struggled to remove the protection.
“What are you doing?” Christian asked.
“What needs to be done.” Raziel answered back.
The armor fought to protect Raziel from danger, but ultimately the desire of the one wearing the armor decides if the armor stays on or not. Raziel kneeled before Christian with his exposed muscular chest and torso. The grand duke cast the chest plate, shirt, and coat to the floor. The prince was beside himself. Raziel shut his eyes, raised his head, and opened his arms to welcome death by Christian’s hand.
“What are you doing?” Christian pleaded.
“I’m doing what’s right.” the grand duke took a deep breath, “Do what you feel need be done Christian. Just remember that no matter what you decide.......I love you.”
Christian stood less than a foot away from the vulnerable grand duke as he raised the blade of the knife. The fire flickered, yet, the room grew cold. Raziel took one final deep breath, eyes shut tight, and listened to the sounds of the fireplace. Christian shook nervously, looking directly at the man who killed his parents, yet, helped protect and raise him. Teach him. His hand began shaking worse until eventually the knife flew through the air. Raziel slightly shuddered as the blade landed on the ground beside him and the warmth of the prince fell upon his chest with his arms around his neck. The young prince sobbed uncontrollably while embracing Raziel tightly.
“I can’t, I can’t. I can’t do it. I love you too much. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t, I couldn’t do it.” he blubbered.
Raziel wrapped his arms around the broken boy and returned the affection of his embrace.
Did you enjoy my ongoing story so far? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Venture_UniverseWrite a Review